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Last Updated:  Friday, 28 March, 2003, 11:47 GMT
Fall in MMR jab uptake
MMR uptake rates have fallen
Scotland's chief medical officer has again urged parents to give their children the triple MMR vaccination.

Statistics for the last three months of 2002 show another slight drop in the number of children receiving the combined measles, mumps and rubella jab.

Dr Mac Armstrong said the uptake rate of less than 87% was well below the preferred 95% level, leaving unimmunised children and the population as a whole at risk.

Some parents fear that the three-in-one vaccine could be responsible for a rise in child autism.

Uptake rates

However, government experts have rejected the link and argue that not having the vaccine poses greater risks.

The MMR uptake rate of children at two years old for the period October to December 2002 was 86.6%.

This was slightly lower than the previous quarter where the rate was 87.3%.

MMR can be given at any age over 12 months and is normally scheduled between 12-15 months of age.

We cannot forget that mumps, measles and rubella are a threat to all unprotected children.
Dr Mac Armstrong

The national target rate as set out by the Scottish Executive is 95% uptake among children by the age of two.

Dr Armstrong, described the latest figures as "slightly disappointing", and said they suggested that the take-up rate was levelling off.

"As confidence returns to the MMR programme - through the provision of better information for parents on why MMR is the best option - we would hope to see this situation improve over the next few years," he said.

"We cannot forget that mumps, measles and rubella are a threat to all unprotected children.

Immunisation rates

"And secondly, while uptake rates remain so far below 95%, unimmunised children and the population as a whole are at risk."

Immunisation uptake rates for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, and hib remain above 95% with MenC at 94.6%.

This varies across individual NHS board area.

The figures are from the Information and Statistics Division (ISD Scotland) of NHSScotland.

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